The Outer Banks is definitely one of the top wedding destinations in the country. The annual Outer Banks wedding expo is a yearly feature helping couples plan their dream OBX wedding. Mandy Harlow is an OBX wedding coordinator and one of the vendors that make an appearance at the wedding expo. We had the honor to get the scoop on everything weddings from this OBX mogul!
How did you get into event & wedding coordinating and how long have you been doing it?
“I first started in the Outer Banks event world working as the event coordinator for realty companies. There, I would help brides figure out and book which event homes they wanted for their wedding that fit their requirements. I started that when I moved here 6 years ago, and then started a day of coordinating company, Heart of Harlow, and have been coordinating weddings for the past three years. A day of coordinator is for couples who know what they want their day to look like and have planned most of the details but need someone there to run the show. We make sure the vendors are all on track, greet guests, get everyone down the aisle, and make sure the wedding goes according to our timeline!”
What is one of your number one tips for brides throughout the OBX wedding planning process?
“My number one tip is to pick your venue first. On the Outer Banks where it is a popular destination wedding area, venues and houses can go quick. Most people plan a year in advance for their OBX family vacation, so you also want to be ahead of the game to book your beach houses for your family and friends to stay in ahead of time (even if you aren’t booking an event home for the venue). Once you pick your venue, everything will fall into place.”
What types of weddings do you love coordinating and decorating for?
“I love working on event home weddings. Event home weddings are super popular on the Outer Banks. From large to small weddings, it’s great to have everything and everyone in one place. Many event homes are 8+ Bedrooms, so most of the bridal party and family can stay in one place. This makes it easy for rehearsal, set up, and getting ready, then when the ceremony starts, you just have to walk out of your home and onto the beautiful beach right in front of your house!
Event homes usually have pool decks and decks that can accommodate tables for cocktail hour and the reception around the pool with the beach in sight. It’s low-key in the idea that you don’t have to worry about shuttling guests from the ceremony site to the reception site, but also super personal in the sense that the bride and groom get to get comfortable with their space and settled in before the big day. Not to mention you get a whole week with your loved ones on top of the best day of your life!”
Where is your favorite OBX location to have a wedding?
“I can’t choose a favorite Outer Banks area, I love them all! I would just have to say anywhere where water is in sight; ocean or sound are both beautiful local features to have a part of your wedding”
When is the best time to get married On The Outer Banks?
“The best time of the year to get married here is in the fall or spring. The weather is gorgeous, the ocean breeze is perfect without the summer heat, and the rates for just about everything are way cheaper than the peak of summer”
How far in advance should brides plan?
“For the Outer Banks, brides should start planning and browsing a year out from their wedding date. For venue, accommodations, and any vendors you love and can’t live without, you should book as soon as you can. If you wait until 6 months out or less, you will still find a ton of amazing outer banks vendors, since we have such a great array of talent here. However, you should definitely book your venue first and 12-8 months out if you have a certain date in mind.”
Why do you love your job?
“I love my job because I get to work with people making sure the best day of their life goes just the way the envision it, and because they come here because it’s their favorite place in the world. There’s nothing better than working with people who are so happy to be where they love and feel so connected to their families, the ocean, and the Outer Banks.”
See Mandy at the Outer Banks wedding expo this weekend! Visit her website, Heart of Harlow for even more details on how to make your Outer Banks wedding unforgettable!